What is the problem with molten salt reactors?

Another basic problem with MSRs is that the materials used to manufacture the various reactor components will be exposed to hot salts that are chemically corrosive, while being bombarded by radioactive particles. So far, there is no material that can perform satisfactorily in such an environment.

Can a molten salt reactor meltdown?

Also the fuel in an MSR is already in liquid form, it cannot melt down and in an emergency situation it can be quickly drained out of the reactor into a passively cooled dump tank.

Are there any working molten salt reactors?

The MSR program closed down in the early 1970s in favor of the liquid metal fast-breeder reactor (LMFBR), after which research stagnated in the United States. As of 2011, ARE and MSRE remained the only molten-salt reactors ever operated.

Why don’t we use thorium reactors?

Even though a conventional meltdown would be unlikely, thorium still produces harmful radiation that needs to be contained, and something could always go wrong. But the real reason we use uranium over thorium is a result of wartime politics.

Why are there no thorium reactors?

Thorium cannot in itself power a reactor; unlike natural uranium, it does not contain enough fissile material to initiate a nuclear chain reaction. As a result it must first be bombarded with neutrons to produce the highly radioactive isotope uranium-233 – ‘so these are really U-233 reactors,’ says Karamoskos.

Are molten salt reactors the future?

Molten salt reactors (MSRs) may play a key role in future nuclear energy systems by offering major advantages in safety and efficiency. Advanced research, technology development and licensing in several countries can potentially make near-term deployment of this innovative technology possible.

Why there are no thorium reactors?

What is the safest nuclear reactor?

Molten-salt reactors
Molten-salt reactors are considered to be relatively safe because the fuel is already dissolved in liquid and they operate at lower pressures than do conventional nuclear reactors, which reduces the risk of explosive meltdowns.

Why is thorium safer than uranium?

Thorium-based reactors are safer because the reaction can easily be stopped and because the operation does not have to take place under extreme pressures. Compared to uranium reactors, thorium reactors produce far less waste and the waste that is generated is much less radioactive and much shorter-lived.

Why don’t we have thorium reactors yet?

What is an IMSR reactor?

The IMSR design is intended to be used for a variety of heat demand applications, ranging from power generation to cogeneration, or process-heat only. Click on image to enlarge. The Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) is designed for the small modular reactor (SMR) market.

What is an MSR nuclear reactor?

A molten salt reactor (MSR) is a class of nuclear fission reactor in which the primary nuclear reactor coolant and/or the fuel is a molten salt mixture. Only two MSRs have ever operated, both research reactors in the United States.

What is the technology of the IMSR?

The IMSR ® uses a Generation IV reactor technology. It uses a molten salt as coolant and fuel. This is in contrast to water circulating through a highly pressurized cooling system and solid fuel, both of which are the signature features of Generation I, II and III conventional reactors.

What is an integral molten salt reactor?

The Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) is a design for a small modular reactor (SMR) that employs molten salt reactor technology being developed by the Canadian company Terrestrial Energy.